Pelicans cruise to fourth straight victory

Jim Eichenhofer
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Ten days after one of their most frustrating defeats of the season, New Orleans exacted some payback against Philadelphia, rolling to a dominant victory.

On Jan. 16, Philadelphia posted a surprising 96-81 triumph in Pennsylvania, but New Orleans was without Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday in that game due to injury.

Holiday (leg) remains on the injured list for the Pelicans, but Davis was back with a vengeance this time against the 76ers, authoring one of his best performances of the regular season. He wasn’t needed in the fourth quarter, with New Orleans building an insurmountable advantage.

The Pelicans won both games of a back-to-back for the first time, not coincidentally doing so at the Smoothie King Center, where their 15-5 record is one of the best in the NBA.

NOLA also pulled within 1.5 games of eighth-place Phoenix in the Western Conference standings.

Dante Cunningham nailed a baseline-jumper from the right side, giving New Orleans a 79-59 lead with 2:24 left in the third quarter. The mid-range shot gave the Pelicans their first 20-point lead of the night, after a string of Anthony Davis highlights increased what had been a 52-43 halftime edge.